Do you tend to get in your own way sometimes?
I ask because when things are going well, we can sometimes sabotage our own efforts to get where we want to be. In a world that’s topsy turvy right now, it makes sense if you sometimes question the decisions you make. But when that starts to hold you back, it can help to stop and ask yourself why. If you believe underneath that your voice doesn’t matter for example (especially if someone in the past told you it didn’t), it can affect your sense of self worth.
Self-esteem and confidence aren’t the same thing. Self-esteem is the value you place on yourself – feeling like you can contribute to a conversation, have the right to say no, and knowing that your opinion counts. Confidence is how you come across to the outside world. Where self-esteem is “internal”, confidence is “external”. If self-esteem is organic – it can grow (or not) based on how you speak to yourself for example – confidence can be synthetically manufactured. We can come across to others as ‘strong’ when really we’re feeling anything but.
When someone pays you a compliment about what you’re wearing and you say “oh this old thing!”, or a job well done and you say “oh it’s nothing really” (even if you spent hours doing it) it might be because you don’t want them to think there’s something positive to appreciate. But you always bring something to the table, just by being you.
In this video Beth Clayton talks of how we make decisions about ourself that are rooted in pain and shame, which ultimately affects our confidence and self-esteem. This is one of the reasons we sabotage our own efforts to get where we want to be, because a part of us is worried it might not work out so well.
When you feel better on the inside and good on the outside, when you have good boundaries that create a loving space for you too, these are steps towards happiness. Saying something lovely to someone else can help you feel good, but when you say it to yourself, well, that can change everything.
Here’s what might help:
This week, set the intention to Encourage the Praise. When you find yourself self-sabotaging, perhaps through avoiding something you’d really like to do, or by trying to please everyone, ask yourself if thinking that way will get you where you want to be. Then see if you can speak to that part of yourself that’s worried, and ask, “What do you need right now?”
When someone pays you a compliment, try simply saying “thank you”. If you catch a glimpse of your reflection, and tend to beat yourself up about something you see as imperfect, see if you can challenge the mirror, and say something lovely to yourself instead. Recognise the power of words, and how we talk to ourselves, can have a direct impact on how we feel and behave. Mindfulness can also help focus awareness on the internal dialogue, so that we learn to manage the mind in a healthy way.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020